Graffiti Abatement Team
Salem Police Department
333 Division ST NE
Salem OR 97301

503-588-6135 (fax)

man painting over wall graffiti

Remove Graffiti

Salem residents have five business days to remove graffiti. If you need help removing graffiti from your property, please contact the Graffiti Abatement Team at 503-371-4264.

Remove with paint

Paint is generally used for walls and buildings.

  • Cover the entire surface Match your new paint to the original color if possible. If not possible, repaint the entire surface or square area. For example, paint the entire fence board(s) rather than just cover the graffiti.
  • Prepare the surface by cleaning, drying, and sanding if necessary. If several coats of paint have already been applied, sanding may be necessary to remove old paint.
  • Select the right paint for your surface. Acrylic latex is best for wood, concrete, block walls, and brick. Call your local paint specialist for advice if you are unsure.

Reuse your paint brushes. If you are working on a continual problem, you can put the roller or brush in a plastic bag, or wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. It will last for months. If you are using a 5 gallon bucket and the roller will fit, leave the roller in the bucket and reseal it.

Remove with sand or water blasting and pressure washing

Pressure washing is generally used for unpainted concrete surfaces like curbs and cinderblock walls.

  • Start with the gentlest setting first, because damage can easily occur.
  • Follow the recommendations for historic buildings.

Remove with chemical products

Chemical products are generally used for metal and aluminum poles, boxes, and signs.

  • Make sure the cleaner is appropriate for the graffiti agent and affected surfaces.
  • The solution should not leave residue or film that will damage the affected surfaces.

Follow the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid dangers to your health and affected surfaces.

Removal tips for trees, sidewalks, and vehicles

Wash the tree with a garden hose. Do not use lacquer thinner or paint. You might apply mineral spirits and let it sit for five to 10 minutes, and then wash with water. Contact a nursery for other suggestions.

Use a wire brush. If that doesn’t work, try lacquer thinner or pressure washing. Clean one square at a time.

Use a solvent-based cleaner that can be obtained from hardware or home improvement stores. Be aware that these cleaners are likely to remove the wax from your vehicle’s paint as well as the graffiti.

Additional resources

Graffiti Busters provide product discounts

The Salem Police Department, Keizer Police Department, and Marion County Sheriff's Office have partnered with local businesses to form the Graffiti Busters program. These businesses have agreed to provide discounts to victims of graffiti and assistance finding the best products for removal and prevention.

  • ACE Hardware 
    • 706 Madrona AV SE
  • Fred Meyer
    • 3740 Market ST NE
    • 3450 Commercial ST SE
    • 2855 Broadway ST NE
  • The Home Depot
    • 3795 Hagers Grove RD SE
  • Industrial Supply
    • 1270 Commercial ST NE
  • Kilgore Blackman Building Materials
    • 5444 Commercial ST SE
  • Miller Paint Co.
    • 390 Lancaster DR NE
  • Rodda Paint
    • 3589 Fairview Industrial DR SE
  • Salem Paint
    • 702 High ST NE
  • Sherwin-Williams
    • 4669 River RD N
    • 1805 Lancaster DR NE
    • 4596 Commercial ST SE
  • True Value
    • 5014 River RD N
  • Wal-mart
    • 1940 Turner RD SE
    • 5250 Commercial ST SE
    • 3025 Lancaster DR NE